Domenico Zipoli

(1688 - 1726)

Italian Composer. Zipoli was born in Prato, the son of Sabatino Zipoli and Eugenia Varocchi. Sabatino was a peasant living on the lands of the Naidini family, beyond the walls of the city. Zipoli remained there until 1702, moving at the age of 14 to the environs of the Cattedrale di "S. Stefano" in the city. The Prato Cathedral organist-choirmasters in his youth were both Florentines: Ottavio Termini (from 1703) and Giovanni Francesco Beccatelli. On September 12, 1707 Zipoli petitioned Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, for six scudi monthly so that he could study at Florence, with Giovanni Maria Casini. the cathedral organist from 1703. On February 2 and March 9, 1708 he cooperated with Casini, Alessandro Scarlatti, Gasparini and twenty others in composing an oratorio produced at Florence under the supervision of Orlandini by the Compagnia di S Marco, and later that year at the Oratorians' church in a version with arias by Zipoli replacing those of Omodei Sequi. Supported by a further ducal charity grant, he moved to Naples in 1709 for lessons with Alessandro Scarlatti but left in the same year after disagreements and went to study at Bologna under Lavinio Felice Vannucci, author of the Regole per suonare, cantare and comporre per principianti (Rules to play, sing and compose for the beginners); he next went from Bologna to Rome for lessons with the veteran Bernardo Pasquini. Staying in Rome after Pasquini's death in Novemnber 1710, he became a member of the Order of Sainte-Cecilia which commissioned from him Vespers and the Mass for the festival of S. Carlo. On November 30, he obtained the post of organist at S. Maria in Trastevere. The Order of Santa Cecilia also entrusted to him in 1712 and 1713 for the Chiesa San Carlo ai Catinari, the seat of the brotherhood, the composition of Vespers and the Mass for the festival of San Carlo. Zirpoli composed during this period two oratorios of which only the librettos survive, S. Antonio di Padova performed in the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella (1712) and S.Caterina vergine, e martire, performed in the church San Girolamo della Caritá (1714). In 1715 he was appointed organist of the Jesuit church at Rome and the next year published the keyboard collection on which his fame rests, Sonata of Intavolatura per Organo E Cimbalo. The Princess of Forano to whom he dedicated the work, Maria Teresa Strozzi (who is also the subject of the cantata Delle offese has vendicarmi) , may have been related to the bishop, Leone Strozzi, who had confirmed him at Prato Cathedral on May 2, 1699. Throughout his stay in Rome Zipoli lodged with Filippo Baldocci, prior of S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini. Throughout this time, he was also in close contact with the Academy of Arcadia, an influence that shows in his cantatas for soloist and basso continuo.

Zipoli left Rome for Genoa in April 1716, joining the Society of Jesus on July 1, 1716, and soon after went to Seville to await passage to the Paraguay province. With 53 other prospective Jesuit missionaries he sailed from Cadiz on April 5, 1717; in the company of Pedro Lozano (who was to become one of the superiors of the Jesuits) and of Giovanni Battista Primoli (the architect who built many buildings for the Jesuit missions of South America), he started a three months crossing bound for Rio of Plata (in Argentina). After a violent storm he and the others disembarked in July at Buenos Aires, and after 15 days set out for Cordoba. By 1724 he had completed with distinction the required three years each of philosophy and theology at the Jesuit Colegio Maximo and university in Cordoba. He continued his m,usical activities, as organist, choirmaster and printer, which may have delayed the completion of his studies. He was ready to receive priest's orders in 1725, but died (of tuberculosis) without them for lack of a bishop in Cordoba to ordain him that year.
A Partial Domenico Zipoli Discography |  VIIH: Music in Iberia, New Spain and Colonial America